tv Democracy Now LINKTV June 11, 2014 8:00am-9:01am PDT
06/11/14 06/11/14 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! all right, everybody, i want to give thanks in leslie tonight. this is the happiest moment of my life. i hope to all of you -- i owe it to all of you. give yourselves a hand. >> in a stunning upset, a little-known to party back economics professor david brat has soundly defeated house majority leader eric cantor in
the virginia republican primary, even though cantor massively outspent brett. cantor is the first house majority leader to lose a primary in over a century. will this mark the end of immigration reform push in washington? peace laureates and over 100 academics have accused human rights watch of being too close to the u.s. government. we will host a debate. and we will look at the surge of children coming over the border into the united states. over 1000 kids are now reportedly being held in a warehouse in arizona. we will speak with you was a prize-winning journalist sonia , asrio and jose luis zelaya a child he left honduras in search of his mother. years old, i was 13 i made the decision to come to the united states to be up to look for my mom. to come to this country and that theyth the woman
said carried me and loved me. so for about 45 days, i took a journey from ponderous to the united states by myself. >> all of that and more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. house majority leader eric cantor's lost the one of the upsets in congressional history. he failed the tea party challenger david brat whose campaign accused cantor of being insufficiently right-wing. he conceded the race before supporters tuesday night. >> i know there are a lot of long faces here tonight. it is disappointing, sure, but i believe in this country. i believe there is opportunity around the next corner for all of us. so i look forward to continuing to fight with all of you for the things that we believe in for the conservative cause, because those solutions of ours are the
answers to the problems so many people are facing today. >> the house's second-most powerful republican, cantor's defeat could upend republican politics while further endangering the passage of immigration reform. brat ran on a staunch anti-immigrant platform, citing cantor's mild support for a version of the dream act. it is the first of house majority leader has lost a primary since the position was created in 1889. in the night's other key primary, republican senator lindsay graham of south carolina easily defeated six challengers to seek a new term this fall. we will have more on eric cantor's defeat after the headlines. a student has been killed in the teacher wounded in a high school shooting in oregon that also left the gunman dead. a former student entered reynolds high school and opened fire before turning the gun on himself. two students described the moments after the shots rang out. >> we just saw people running everywhere, people screaming. we didn't know what was going
on. we went to the back of the classroom. we were all scared. >> i heard gunshots and a first i thought it was a joke come as someone with firecrackers. then they started yelling, telling us all to get down. we all got serious. >> the student victim was identified as emilio hoffman, a 14 old freshman. it was at least the 74th school shooting in u.s. since the newtown massacre that left 26 people dead in december 2012. speaking at the white house, president obama urged a national soul-searching on gun control. he also called congressional inaction a source of shame. >> this is not the only country that has psychosis. other inwe kill each these mass shootings at rates highere exponentially than anyplace else.
the country has to do some soul-searching about this. this is becoming the norm. we take it for granted. in ways that as a parent, are terrifying. and i am prepared to work with responsibleluding sportsmen and gun owners, to craft some solutions, but right impossible to get even the mildest restrictions through congress and we should be ashamed. >> amidst a spate of deadly shootings, senate majority leader harry reid says the senate could revive a vote on the failed effort to expand background checks and ban assault rifles. the measure was introduced after the newtown massacre, but collapsed in the senate a year ago this april. an estimated 500,000 people have fled iraq's second-largest city following its capture of al qaeda militants. the islamic state of iraq and on labonte seized mosul
tuesday with a sweeping attack on the city's airport, tv stations, government buildings, setting over 2000 prisoners free. the capture expands the groups western stronghold after taking fallujah in parts of ramadi earlier this year. iraqi prime minister has declared a national state of emergency. has struggledit to contain spiraling internal violence since the departure of u.s. troops into 111. the conflict between sunni militants, the shiite-led government is an outgrowth of the 2000 three u.s. invasion, which a spark a civil war. in washington, white house spokesperson josh earnest said the u.s. supports the iraqi government but called on baghdad to do more to address political grievances. >> these kinds of challenges don't have a soul military solution. while we can provide important military assistance to improve the security situation in iraq am a challenges is going to require a commitment by the
iraqi leadership, including prime minister malik key, to confront the kinds of unresolved issues that are facing all people. quickly bipartisan standoff over the prisoner swap that freed american soldier bowe bergdahl in exchange for five taliban prisoners continues to grow. on tuesday, the white house held another congressional briefing to explain the bergdahl deal. several republicans continued to lash out with senator jeff sessions of alabama: the prisoner exchange "demoralizing." the republican-controlled house armed services committee will begin an inquiry into the prisoner swap today. critics fear another benghazi-tight partisan probe. the house appropriations committee meanwhile has approved a measure that would ban the use of federal money to transfer prisoners out of guantanamo bay. pentagon, military spokesperson john kirby said bergdahl continues to improve, but he remains mentally unprepared to return home after years in captivity.
>> we are told his health continues to improve and he is engaging with staff more and more each day. all that is promising. the secretary is relieved to hear it. this is going to the long process. nobody is going to push it any further or faster than sergeant bergdahl in his caregivers are willing to take it. the soldier was held captive for nearly five years in what we must assume or harsh conditions. he is going to need time to reassemble late, time to heal mentally and physically. the secretary is made it clear our first party is giving him and his family that critical time and space. >> bergdahl told officials last week taliban captors tortured him and kept him in a cage after he tried to escape. a california court has struck down a series of laws that grant tenure and other protections to public school teachers. in a potentially far-reaching decision, california superior court judge josh for said state law makes it too easy for low performing teachers to keep
their jobs. the education reform group students matter had sued on behalf of nine students, arguing protections for subpar teachers disproportionately impact children of color and from low-income families. outside the courthouse, teacher union officials said they're being unfairly targeted for the consequences of underfunded public education. >> all of my 22 years of teaching in south los angeles, never was there a student who had a barrier thrown up in front of them because teachers had a right to a hearing or teachers had due process or teachers had seniority. >> we are deeply disappointed with the decision that happened today. they highlighted all the wrong problems. they look to the wrong processes, and they look for the wrong solutions. but the california ruling has been stayed pending the union appeal. has been. official removed amidst accusations of failing to investigate abuses in deadly shootings by agents on the mexican border.
replaced asck was the head of internal affairs following a wave of shootings by agents that have killed 28 people since 2010. the victims include at least six mexican nationals killed on the mexican side of the border. hundreds of immigrants have filed complaints over alleged abuses, the just 14 cases have led to disciplinary action. a report by law enforcement experts earlier this year the sized the border patrol's "lack of diligence and investigations." the fbi's deputy assistant director for inspections will replace tomsheck on an interim basis. those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. house majority leader eric cantor has lost virginia's republican primary in one of the biggest upsets in congressional history. he fell to tea party challenger
david brat, whose campaign accused cantor of being insufficiently right-wing. the house's second-most powerful republican, cantor had been the presumed next in line to replace speaker john boehner. cantor's campaign raised $5.4 million to brat's $200,000. it is the first time a house majority leader has lost a primary since the position was created in 1899. >> eric cantor's to feed could upend republican politics while further endangering the prospects for immigration reform. brat ran on a staunch anti-immigrant platform citing cantor's mild support for version of the dream act come although his opponent painted him as a moderate. cantor is put up key role in the republican effort to thwart president obama's agenda for from health care reform to last your's government shutdown. for more we're joined by john nichols, the washington correspondent for "the nation." john is joining us by democracy
now video stream from madison, wisconsin. welcome back to democracy now! talk about the significance of this historic defeat. >> you can't overestimate it. this is a remarkable result. the office of majority leader was officially established in 1899. no majority leader has lost in the last 55 election cycles. this is the first one. cantor lost for a reason. this race will be simplified by the media. he lost because of a number of factors. one, it was a very low turnout election. two, he is been very focused on national issues, not at home. three, and this is important, his opponent, who is exceptionally conservative, very right-wing on all the issues, crafted a message that was, as you suggested, anti-immigration reform, anti-deficit commit
very, very critical of spending -- all the things we usually here, but also very, very critical of wall street. in fact, his opponent came back again and again to the theme that what was wrong with eric cantor is that there cantor took a lot of money from wall street, and then did the bidding of wall street rather than main street. who this new candidate, the republican candidate, economics professor brat, is. >> he is very interesting. is a longtime economics professor, pretty well regarded at the small university where he teaches. he has had some ties to libertarians. he clearly has -- he claims he is not a landing and. he fits a lot of the models you might associate with a ron paul or rand paul conservative, which
is to say that he is not a simplistic tea party candidate. this is a guy who has for a long time been very, very involved in the complex debate about what the republican party ought to be. my sense is that if democrats thisany message away from major upset, it shouldn't be to abandon immigration reform. the fact of the matter is, the overwhelming majority of americans in polling support humane immigration reform. low turnout republican primary, you're not getting a good measure on that. what you are getting a good measure on, and an important one, is that a strong critique of wall street, one that really ties policymaking to wall street money, has a lot of traction. comment, i'm's running against cantor because he does not represent the citizens the seventh district,
but large corporations seeking insider deals, crony bailouts, and a constant supply of low-wage workers. john nichols? >> it is quite a remarkable statement. and that is not an isolated statement. amazingly enough, this guy was described during the course of the campaign as primarily running against cantor on a critique of wall street and big business. toward the end, there's no question, and we should not underestimate his supporters adopted these immigration issues and it was very ugly. there is no defending the stances that they took were where they went. but it is important to understand that there was a lot going on here. and a lot of the critique of haver went to issues that not been talked about much nationally. for instance, in david brat's last big message in the district, he went very deep in criticizing cantor on financial
services reform, congressional reform, suggesting -- and i think appropriately -- that cantor had been to over backwards to try to make sure that members of congress would not be too harshly penalized if they turned around and became lobbyists or got involved with wall street. so there's a lot going on here. again, i want to emphasize, immigration reform was a part of this race, but if democrats take that away, they think people have turned against immigration reform -- i think they're misreading a much deeper critique of where the republican party is going in regards to wall street. >> the issue of money. this also flew in the face of everything that we see. some say 12 to one that cantor outspent him, 20 to one perhaps even 25 to one. counter outspent this will known oscar tea party candidate. you spent something like -- david wright spent something like $200,000? >> maybe even less than that.
there's very little outside spending on david brat's behalf. this was really a grassroots campaign. but let me emphasize, david brat is a college professor, very in regards to social media and facebook, websites. we are releasing one element of modern campaigning coming in low that is -- in a very voter turnout, if you can activate the the base, you can get a lot of traction. >> we want to thank you, john being here. we will talk more about immigration reform later in the broadcast. his article that we will link to it "the nation" on democracynow.org. when we come back, the great debate on human rights watch. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
and most influential human rights organizations is facing an unusual amount of public criticism. laureates,eace prize adolfo pérez esquivel and mairead maguire, and a group of over 100 scholars, have written an open letter to human rights watch criticizing what they describe as the group's close ties to the u.s. government. the letter claims there is a revolving door between the u.s. government and human rights watch, and that it has impacted the organization's work in certain countries, including venezuela. it cites the example of tom malinowski. in the 1990's, he served as a special assistant to president bill clinton and as a speechwriter to secretary of state madeleine albright. then he became hrw's washington advocacy director. last year, he left the organization after being nominated as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor under john kerry. the letter also notes a former cia analyst and miguel diaz who sat on the human rights watch advisor committee from 2003-2011. diaz is now at the state
department. the letter urges human rights watch to bar those who have crossed it or executed u.s. foreign-policy from serving as or board advisers, members. >> executive director kenneth roth has defended his organization's independence. in a recent letter to the nobel laureates, he wrote -- he went on to highlight the group's history of criticizing u.s. human rights record. he wrote -- today we host a debate. reed brody is counsel and spokesperson for human rights watch and worked as lead counsel for the victims in the case of the exiled former dictator of chad and in the case of augusto
pinochet and jean-claude duvalier in haiti. keane bhatt is a lien organizer of the open letter to human rights watch. earlier this year he wrote an article headlined, "the hypocrisy of human rights watch." , you're the one who wrote the letter that was signed by the nobel laureates and about 100 scholars. explain your concerns with human rights watch. >> the concern is that the revolving door process the we delineated in the letter leads to perverse incentive structure. that is to say, if you are a human rights watch staff member in your to criticize harshly principled terms actions by the us government, one should not have in the back of his or her mind the possibility of actually working for the government. we think that possibility of looking at the u.s. government come at which the human rights watch should be antagonistic toward along with any other
government, one should not see that as a possibility for future career advancement. that generates a perverse incentive. the revolving door process is something that is quite clearly understood in other industries like financial sector are, in which you have a revolving door there. we are simply saying that in the case of human rights watch, which stands by its and dependence, that it should demonstrate that independence further by implementing an actual policy to have either a cooling off period before and after hrw associates go into the u.s. government, or they simply bar those who have created or executed u.s. foreign-policy even at the u.s. foreign-policy establishment in the u.s. government is a routine human rights violator. >> reed brody? >> first of all, i want to thank you the opportunity for giving us the opportunity to discuss these charges. unfortunately, every time human rights watch publishes a report on venezuela, this is what
happens. the government and the people who support the government then denounce human rights watch. this is not the first letter of its kind. this one is particularly pernicious because of the charges it raises, this idea that somehow human rights watch is in lockstep with the u.s. government because of some revolving door policy. i think anyone who is familiar with our work, anyone who takes the time to look at our website, with the first of all, we routinely criticize the u.s. government. earlier this week, you had on your show a human rights watch researcher together with the ini activisted bahra criticizing u.s. government. we have 399 people on staff, from 67 countries. we have people -- there's probably a handful of people who have worked for the u.s. government.
there are also people who have worked for the governments of brazil, canada, france, germany, mexico, the netherlands, peru, spain, south africa, sweden, and the united kingdom. i could go through the list of the directors, the regional directors, our africa director is a former ethiopian prisoner under u.s. ally. the person in charge of all our programs, ian levine, whom you know. a british trained nurse 10 years in africa, then unicef, then amnesty international. ken roth, the director of human rights watch, 27 consecutive years at human rights watch. there are a handful of people -- his revolving door policy if we implement a did, would have changed one person at human rights watch. to the extent there is a revolving door policy, it is with united nations. there are many people, myself included, who have worked at the united nations.
there really is no basis to this kind of allegation. >> keane bhatt, can you respond specifically to what reed brody said about the number of former government officials from a number of other countries who are employed at human rights watch, what a specific focus on the u.s. government officials? >> one, what we're talking about is both working for the us government before and after human rights watch. in all of the countries you listed, i'm not aware of people who have worked in the government and human rights watch, then back in government. that is the revolving door phenomenon. if you have credible evidence of those people, we would probably oppose that as well. but the second point, about focusing on the united states, opposed to peru or mexico or brazil, the united states is the world's largest military. as the world's sole superpower, which has committed various human rights violations on in
order of magnitude far beyond the scope of anything that could be accused upon mexico or in other countries, this is really the core issue. i just want to ask you, if it is only two people, miguel diaz from the cia who is now -- >> miguel diaz never worked at human rights watch. we have over 200 people on advisory committees. >> if the advisory committee simply an honorary title, what kind of message is that sending to the world that somebody who is worked at the cia, perhaps the world's greatest institutional human rights violator in the past half-century, is there as a way -- as a kind of forms credentials? what does that symbolize to the rest of the world when you talk about your independence? when he goes into the state department and his job title is explicitly serving as an interlocutor before the intelligence community and non-government experts, namely human rights watch and other
organizations, what does that signal to the international community? let's not even dispute the question of whether hrw's advocacy is aligned with u.s. foreign policy the very fact we are having this debate is indicative of the need of having -- >> we are having this debate because the venezuelan government and people who support the venezuelan government cannot tolerate criticism of venezuela. >> to save -- >> let me answer the questions about miguel diaz. we have 200 people on our advisory committees. we have advisory committees for each branch of human rights watch. it is a big tent. the people on the right and left. bernadine dorn is on our advisory committee. mike farrell. >> it is not a question of left or right, but a question of people were associated with
leading human rights violators working there. what can he advise on human rights when he has worked at the cia and abused -- >> the guilty is was on the advisory committee, the latin , arican director, csis public policy think tank in washington. those are the kinds of positions that you bring to an advisory committee. you bring people from the field, from think tanks, former public policy people, government officials. former government officials. we have a rule that you cannot, obviously, be a government official at the same time that you're on the board, on the advisory committee, or on the staff of human rights watch. >> keane bhatt, can i ask you to alan specifically the coming were critical of the way which human rights watch has covered venezuela. could you outline what some of your criticisms were? >> first, i would dispute the contention that this is simply an effort by venezuela supporters to try to tarnish hrw's good name. reed brody is not addressing the
core issue here about a revolving door -- >> i have addressed it. there is no revolving door. but there is no revolving door if tom malinowski -- >> that is one person. >> can you explain who he is? >> he worked at the white house national security council before -- for bill clinton is a senior director when bill clinton initiated the yugoslavia bombings, which human rights watch itself classified as committing the violations of international humanitarian law. secondly, he was a speechwriter for madeleine albright when she made comments that the price is worth it in terms of imposing the sanctions that may have killed half a million iraqi children. malinowski then worked at human rights watch as its lead lobbyist, and an unusually after, became the assistant secretary of state. the kinds of comments he made, for example in reference to libya after the nato intervention, are completely un-alloyed in their support.
and so when tom malinowski is strongly supported -- supportive of nato interventions and then goes on to work at the obama administration, which is a human rights violator -- for example, the secret kill list in which obama has the right to murder anyone in the planet based on secret order without any judicial oversight. these are the kinds of problems that exist. and whether or not the advocacy is tarnished, the appearance of this revolving door should be addressed. >> reed brody? calledn rights watch has for criminal investigation to be opened against the former president of the united states, george bush, against donald rumsfeld, dick cheney, against george tenet. can roth was on your show talking about that. just last month, two months ago while tom malinowski was going
into the us government, can roth wrote an op-ed called "obama the disappointment." to suggest that somehow that there is this great conspiracy, that we are in lockstep with u.s. government because now and then, in this case one person, went from human rights watch to the u.s. government got it just really -- people on your show should look at our website, read our reports, read ken roth's articles, read our reporting on venezuela and on other u.s. allies like mexico, ms. pakistan, israel, egypt. >> you pointed out, keane bhatt, that you want human right watch to be as critical of the obama and his administration as it has been of the bush administration and human rights watch has failed to do that. from a investigation should be launched against the bush administration then clearly the
continuation of cia renditions, the use of torture -- which jeremy scahill demonstrated on this broadcast. ofo the continuous use rendition was discussed by others. human rights level violation that is unparalleled, the secret kill list to kill anyone on the planet. all of these demand criminal investigations. the fact they haven't been pushed to human rights watch for clinton were taught malinowski once worked and obama, where he now works, is indicative of this issue. secondly, i think the core issue here, when hrw makes criticisms toward nato, what signal does that send the international community when nato's former secretary-general is on the board of directors at hrw? this is somebody who hrw itself criticized for presiding over
violations of international humanitarian law. so why do we make a simple policy -- >> [indiscernible] direct responsibility for human rights relations should not be sitting on the board of the human rights organization. >> i would agree with that. >> we should have an immediate removal of hobby or solana from the board of directors given his power includes been able to remove staff at hrw. that is what board of directors that nonprofits do. so this person -- >> human rights watch -- the proof of what you're saying is not correct. human rights watch has reported -- i mean, as soon as nato or the united states or israel or anyone else is involved in military actions, we are on the ground as soon as possible to document possible violations. >> has advocated criminal investigations were taken javier court for his
violations a few minutes are in law? >> we have not suggested he was personally involved in violations of humanitarian law. there's a difference between violations of a lot of work, which human rights watch has documented in the personal criminal liability of different people and organizations. the question -- that is the core issue because when hrw documents atrocities committed by nato, but then does not carry them to their logical conclusion -- >> describe the violations. >> but does not carry them to their logical conclusions, that leaves the international community to question the independence. >> [indiscernible] >> to be the greatest threat to world peace today. thehree times the margin of second runner-up. so what does it say to the world when hrw has somebody who has
presided over a militant organization? what can he actually provide in terms of his insight and knowledge of human rights when he is somebody who presided over the bombing of civilian targets for the use of cluster munitions and so on? salano was the foreign minister of spain -- >> he was the secretary general of nato. >> he was. he brings to the table his foreign-policy experience. we have been very critical of nato in libya, but we have not alleged that he or that nato was involved in war crimes or that he was personally involved in war crimes. >> could you respond also to what he brought up about human rights watch not been as critical of obama administration officials for continuing bush policies? >> two months ago, ken roth --
obama has disappointed many by failing to make human rights a priority. true, he has stood up for people's rights where places such as venezuela and zimbabwe, but his readiness to comprise in places like afghanistan, egypt, leave themen impression he is not committed to the human rights ideal. we have documented in yemen, for instance, the human cost of drones. , the obamaen obama administration, to task for its fire to live up to the promises he made a year ago regarding transparency and use of drones. so just because were not calling for obama to prosecute it, that is not the test. when someone is as involved directly, i mean george bush admitted he authorized waterboarding. human rights watch documented -- we were in libya. our people went into gaddafi's
former secret service headquarters and discovered the files that shows the u.s. was sending prisoners to libya to be interrogated where they were tortured. we have called for criminal prosecutions on this basis. the kernel prosecution is not the only touchdown for criticism -- but criminal prosecution is not going touchdown for criticism. >> chavez and maduro have nowhere near the human rights record of the obama administration. the core that is question, is whether or not hrw chooses to operationalize its relatively tepid criticisms of obama in a given the severity of those human rights violations. let's take the case of drone strikes in yemen for example. human rights watch is advocating not for the immediate cessation of drone strikes, which have killed hundreds of civilians around the world, but asking for greater transparency on the
legal rationale for continuation of those drone strikes. the idea the united dates can treat the entire planet as a legitimate battlefield is simply an question. secondly, what hrw asked for the legal rationale from the cuban government for why teradata drone assassination against -- no, it would denounce a violation of that sovereignty, the issue -- and they would not be asking the justice ministry of cuba to justify its use of missile strikes on florida. >> i don't believe we've ever talked about that case. >> one of the criticisms of human rights watch in the open letter focused on its position on syria. even rights watch director kenneth roth posted a series of tweets last summer as the obama ministration was contemplating military action following the use of chemical weapons in august. in one, he tweeted --
he subsequently appeared on russia today and explained his organization's position. >> we're explicitly not taking a position for or against particular airstrikes. our main focus, as you can find in the statements we have issued, is that our concern is with protecting civilian lives. obviously, the issue on the table at the moment are the approximately 1400 civilians who died as a result of the chemical weapons attacks in the damascus suburbs, but obviously, we are concerned about the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, civilians who have died during the conflict, mostly at the hands of conventional weapons. our concern is that while there is heightened attention to this problem in syria now, we hope the answer is going to address the plight of civilians across the board. >> that was kenneth roth
speaking last year on "russia today." keane bhatt, can you explain what is your critical of the position that human rights watch took on syria? >> i'm not critical on the question of neutrality when it comes to intervention, but really what his tweets show -- and that is not the only tweet, there are numerous ones -- which allow for possible deniability but in their of fact, and in their perp on her and show a for call on u.s. bombings on syria. we think this is simply a becoming of the head of the human rights organization to be asking for more than symbolic bombing but a really serious kind of a bombing that can actually protect civilians. i think this is completely responsible and, yes, there might be ways to weasel out the implications of that tweet and
other tweets, and people can go to my twitter tizzy the full list of can roth's tweets --ouraging a serious strike to see the full list of ken r oth's tweets encouraging a syria strike. >> reed brody? >> the needs to be a firewall between kenneth roth and the u.s. government? has the the last 27 years at human rights watch. i really don't imagine that he will ever be working for the united states government. but let me address the issue of intervention. human rights watch -- and you can see on our website and hear from ken, human rights watch does not call and has not called for an armed intervention or any intervention -- well, call for humanitarian intervention and the assistance to displaced people. the countries of the world in 2005, all the countries of the general assembly, agreed the
recession circumstances -- agreed there were certain circumstances when they invoke the right to protect, when a may be necessary for the toernational community use force. that is the lesson of rwanda. human rights watch does not call -- in fact, since rwanda, the last time human rights called for a military intervention was over 20 years ago in rwanda. is --suggest otherwise the policy of human rights watch and what ken was saying was, the touchstone is, are you going to protect civilians? what is the plan to protect civilians? we did not criticize in the letter you make an equivalent to
say, well, we criticized syria's bombing of civilians, but we did not criticize the u.s. for threatening. that is another issue which is that the parameters for hrw are narrow, such that violations of international law such as the threat or use of force are outside of hrw's purview. what that means is the loan military superpower in the world , which has violated international law on many occasions, for example in the case of iraq is led to the deaths of perhaps one million iraqis, perhaps the greatest human rights catastrophe of the 21st century. because hrw's purview does not violations ofpose international law such as the threat or use of force, we think that is a defect. what i'm saying is a narrower point, which is that if hrw has a stated policy of neutrality, then tom malinowski should not
be endorsing and praising libya, the libya strikes by nato -- >> >> [indiscernible] again, documentation is different from advocacy and operationalizing that research. when tom malinowski completely omits the findings of hrw itself on the cases of 72 civilians killed in missile strikes by nato in libya -- >> we are the want to document it that. where does the information come from? human rights watch. >> that is my point. when tom malinowski simply omits that finding from his piece on nato's role in libya, what that does is raises reasonable suspicion that this person is thinking about possibilities of working within the obama administration. and by having completely unconditional support and saying what libya shows is that obama should be further engaged in the arab spring, what that does is
it creates reasonable suspicion and that is why it is crucial for hrw to impose some kind of a cooling off period. there are 15,000 people have signed our petition demanding for just a basic cooling off period. we can go back and forth all day discussing hrw's policy priority for but if it doesn't affect hrw's advocacy, then it should be no problem and limiting such a proposal. it is a very commonsense proposal understood in any other industry. the human rights industry should be no different. >> again, look at who is at human rights watch. i'm sorry. if you go position by position at human rights watch, you find america's director, chilean human rights activist from never worked in the government. are you a director -- are you a director -- >> what a cooling offperiod? affect this >> i think this is a gimmick. it is a gimmick to tie together criticism of venezuela. take something here, take something there, and -- it is a
solution to a problem that does not exist. i haven't talked about venezuela. >> i know -- >> these people are not venezuela experts or defending -- >> [indiscernible] >> i'm very glad you're concerned about human rights i watch's credibility. let me ask you, why do you care about human rights watch and the work that you do, why is it so important to you? >> human rights watch with its endowment from george soros is a leading human rights organization in the world. it sets an agenda for other organizations and also has an outside influence in congress and has a very powerful network within the media to get its
message out. and we think if it were more independent, that it would be leveraging those very important assets towards doing more effective human rights advocacy. de in the case of aristi 2004, schuman rights watch barely lifted a finger of props worst human rights situation in the hemisphere at that time. hrw simply could have positioned op-ed in "the washington post" or "the new york times," to manning the immediate restitution of the constitutional government of aristide and announcing the atrocities that took place. why didn't that happen? the bush administration literally kidnapped aristide and him out. thousands of people were being slaughtered in port-au-prince alone. hrw should have taken a stronger approach a we don't think it is coincidental that the u.s. role
in that coup the subsequent atrocities that took place have a role in hrw's silence. >> first of all, you know my history in haiti. you mentioned at the top of the show, i'm involved in the prosecution of a string of u.s.-backed dictators, one of them being jean-claude duvalier. i have been trying to get -- i went to panama to try to get the coup leader back to haiti. , is mont, augusto pinochet mean, these are u.s.-backed dictators that we are involved in prosecuting. in the case of haiti, we are on the ground in haiti working for the prosecution of the former dictator. clerks were were you after the coup? why did hrw sent a letter to colin powell, not urging for the immediate reinstatement of aristide, but asking colin powell, to put pressure on thecoup government and install
to prosecute both paramilitary leaders who precipitated the coup and deposed officials of the constitutional government? this is a warped idea of evenhandedness and this is the kind of issue that we are about, the closeness of hrw krispies completely bizarre forms of evenhandedness and osha first blush may seem speciously independent, but on closer inspection, are completely fraudulent. take this inu can bits and pieces and interpret it the way you want. >> interpret that for me. what does it mean? >> human rights watch -- >> why didn't call for the immediate restitution -- >> that is not what we do. -- >> announced the atrocities -- >> we did denounce the atrocities. since prosecution seems to be your touch tone for things, we have been involved -- i personally have been involved in
a chance to prosecute a number of former de facto a military haitian leaders, if that is your touch tone. clerks i find it very curious that human rights watch will appeal to the oas democratic charter and the chavez case, but not the democratic charter in the case of aristide's unconstitutional ouster by the us government, putting them on a plane and sending them to africa. oas u.s.ot invoke the charter? >> we're going to take a break and we come back, we're going to talk specifically about venezuela. ,e are talking with keane bhatt author of an open letter that criticizes human rights watch what he calls open-door policy. leadbrody is the spokesperson for human rights watch. we will be back with them in a moment. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. we are having a very interesting debate around the issue of human rights watch, and open letter has been sent by our guest 100y, keane bhatt, and scholars and two nobel peace laureates criticizing human rights watch for what they call a revolving door policy between the government and the organization. also criticizing them around the research and advocacy around venezuela. reed brody is also with us, the council are human rights watch, dictatorso called the can't catch or pursuer, who has been trying to bring dictators around the world to trial.
i want to turn to human rights watch executive director kenneth roth's tweaked after the open letter that keane bhatt said. he wrote -- he then linked to hrw's 2014 in other states entered report. let's go back to that tweet. critics said for those that she says, for those defenders of venezuela, rwanda, styria for russia, etc. does human rights watch equates venezuela with rwanda and syria? >> know, but those are the countries where we tend to get pushed back. for instance, rwanda. documenteds watch
the genocide, a book that is probably the most important testimonial to the genocide. but she did not stop there and she has been critical of the current government. as a result, human rights watch is the subject of a similar venezuela kind of campaign -- >> talk about venezuela because we only have a few minutes and that is where we want to end. your concern about the coverage of venezuela? >> in 2008, 100 academics clearly denounced what they called inaccurate evidence. hrw is entitled to his advocacy, but you can't make up facts. was in onesue there instance, hrw referred to the systematic discrimination in the provision of social services based on political affiliation. they literally had one case, and that was based on hearsay, that was based on a phone call or
submit a letter 98-year-old grandmother was denied service. this was a level of scholarship that would not be admissible at high school level. why do you think this is? >> that's not even speculate. >> you are not speculating, you're saying it is because somehow we are in lockstep with the u.s. government. but it suggests a revolving door issue with hrw creates -- >> dan wilkinson who wrote the report are going to work for the us government and they never have and they never will. >> and also the board of directors. javier solana. >> javier solana was involved in venezuela? >> no, but there is nato-oriented, let's say permissiveness within hrw. let's be real here. for example, it was daniel wilkinson in the new york review of books, perhaps the -- >> i'll suggest people read that article. >> when he says "two venezuelan
private media stations voluntarily dropped the critical coverage of the government." this is the false. i've demanded a correction. >> [indiscernible] >> i am quoting him directly. in those cases, i showed instances of televen promoting opposition leaders -- >> but they were told -- the interviewers were told that they could not use terms like peaceful demonstrator, that they had to watch out for what they said. imagine that on this show you were told what terms you can and cannot use. televen,peared on prominent opposition leader, and refer to the venezuelan government as a dictatorship, said there was no democracy, a reputed various human rights abuses and then said there is a legitimate case these the
constitution to push for the ouster of the elected government. these are the kinds of comments that no senator or congressman for any united states could ever make -- >> really? really? the u.s. congress may could not go on a tv show and -- >> to say the united states is a dictatorship? >> he could. that is my point. >> this is the kind of freedom of expression that exists and venezuela that are prominent opposition leader can refer to an elected government as a dictatorship -- >> i'm glad to hear they can do that. that is a credit congressman. >> we will leave it there. we would love to invite people's comments. go to democracynow.org and our facebook page. and reed brody. we will have a link to their articles and human rights
watch's response to this letter. democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to email@example.com or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]